United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain greets workers at the Stellantis Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, to mark the beginning of contract negotiations in Sterling Heights, Michigan, U.S. July 12, 2023.
Rebecca Cook | Reuters
DETROIT – The United Auto Workers union is expanding its strike to a Stellantis plant in Michigan that produces Ram 1500 full-size pickup trucks, dealing another blow to the major automakers as negotiations drag on.
The work stoppage includes roughly 6,800 workers at Stellantis’ Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in suburban Detroit, the union publicly announced Monday morning after initiating the walkout.
“Currently, Stellantis has the worst proposal on the table regarding wage progression, temporary worker pay and conversion to full-time, cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), and more,” the UAW said in a release.
The work stoppage at SHAP brings the total number of UAW members on strike with the Detroit automakers to more than 40,000. It marks the first escalation in the union’s strike in nearly two weeks and the first new work stoppage at Stellantis in over a month.
The facility is one of the most important U.S. plants to Stellantis, however the automaker is better poised to wait out a work stoppage at the truck plant than its crosstown rivals General Motors and Ford Motor, with a relatively healthy supply of Ram pickups ready to go.
The Ram 1500 had a 114 days-supply as of Oct. 17, according to Cox Automotive. That compared to the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 at 100 days-supply and Ford F-150 at 99 days-supply. The industry average is roughly 62 days, according to Cox.
The unannounced walkout is the latest example of what UAW President Shawn Fain called a “new phase” of bargaining with the automakers in which the union would take a more aggressive tack. For several weeks since the targeted strikes began on Sept. 15, the UAW was pre-announcing strike locations and typically on Fridays.
But on Oct. 11 the union announced its first unexpected walkout at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant — responsible for $25 billion in revenue annually — marking a major escalation in the ongoing negotiations.
Fain on Friday said there was “more to be won” from the automakers.
Stellantis did not immediately comment on Monday following news of the latest strike.